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Ghibli at the Academy Museum

Munchhausen By Proxy

Okay, so I love Zooey Deschanel.  Case in point:


The short version is she has style, intelligence and is ridiculously cute.  So, she was in Yes Man with Jim Carey this winter.  I thought it was great fun.  Her “pretend” band Munchausen By Proxy has several songs in the movie I recently purchased on iTunes simply because they are hilarious.

The first is “Sweet Ballad” embedded below.

The second is “Uh-Huh” the lyrics of which are reproduced below:

I should have been the one to break up with you
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
I wanna snap your neck and spit on you.
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
If I got a call and said you were dead
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
I’d shrug my shoulders and I say what-ev
You said, Who are you? Who are you?

Hey have we met before? Oh yeah I think we have
Because we only dated for four and a half years
No big deal, I’ve only witnessed you sitting on the couch
Watching Next in your undies,
But its cool that you act like you have no idea who I am.

I saw you Amoeba records last night
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
You straighten your hair and had a henna tatto
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
I wanna shove your face just shove it.
You said, Who are you? Who are you?

My mother thinks youre in the closet
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
Its so weird because when we used to go out you never even liked the TJ wantons
And now we have to drive all the way to marvista or some stupid place and eat
Some stupid butter-nut squash raviolli or something because you took the last bag like some
immature little clown.

I saw you Thursday at the Arclight
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
I was on a date you ruined my night
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
I saw you shopping at the trader just
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
I see you everywhere it really blows.
You said, Who are you? Who are you?

Hey, did you ever meet my friend Ian?
He’s a coumputer hacker.
He helped me erase your Myspace page,
And your band’s Myspace page,
And your Facebook page.
Happy networking asshole.

So remember all the stuff you forgot
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
After you just bought.
You said, Who are you? Who are you?
I’d like to see the look on your greasy face.
You said, Who are you? Who are you?

It sold for sixteen hundy on eBay?
He said, I know you. I know you.

One of the reasons I like the movie is that it is very “LA.”  They openly mock the middle of the country (from which I am from, thank you very much), there are a number of prime LA locations in the film (such as SpaceLand, the Griffith Observatory and Downtown LA).  Obviously, a few others are mentioned (and linked) in the song above.

If you’re not from LA, you mght not really appreciate those lyrics, but if you’ve lived here a while, you get the picture that the singer (and her ex) is a bit of a hipster around LA.  TJ’s (Trader Joes), Amoeba Music and Arclight (perhaps the Arclight least) are demonstrative of a hipster lifestyle.  Anyway, its very nice color on the backdrop of Zooey’s character as you are meeting her, essentially, for the second time.  You learn alot about her if you are paying attention during the songs without exposition.  That is always nice in a film.

Anyway, I found the music funny and somewhat sound-nice-ish.  So, I thought I’d share.

Please, Give me a Second Grace

I am going to cross-link to this post primarily because it’s awesome and I want to be able to find it again later should the need arise.  I’ll do this in the guise of some commentary on commentary…  How appropriate to the web.


I found the following commentary on music in The Royal Tenenbaums.  In a nutshell, it is awesome.  First, it generally accurately describes the complexity of the two main characters, Margot and Richie.  Second, the author clearly has a greater understanding of the plot and the relationship of the music to the plot than I ever put together in spite of the fact that I loved the music enough to borrow the soundtrack from my then-girlfriend for an entire summer.

Third, reading this article completely changed my understanding of the movie as a whole.  Before reading this, I always felt like the movie was about Royal.  However, after reading this, I realized this is not the case.  Of course Royal is a jerk, but he is also right about virtually everything he said.  He’s brutally, brutally honest, but almost always truthful (lacking in one significant instance, of course).  Though, his observations about the behavior of his family and children are, largely, dead-on.

I realized after reading this article that the movie is actually almost completely about Richie and Margot.  Their improper but inescapable affection for one another is the driving force in both of their lives.  It, essentially, destroyed their otherwise promising careers and life-trajectories.  Interestingly, a loss of love also virtually destroyed Chas.  A lack of love growing up also had a poor effect on their neighbor, Eli Cash.  Seemingly, every character is struggling with a missing love or an unattainable affection.

I won’t try and recreate the article here, but it is masterful.  I am all the more a fan of this movie having read this article and having re-watched the movie. You should do the same.

What’s Wrong With You?

I was watching the Darjeeling Limited today and realized that it contains a line I always liked.  The Darjeeling Limited is, of course, a train, that is at least partially representative of the path of the characters’ lives.  The opening scene is of, presumably the main characters’ father, missing a train.  As you find out later, the father has died.  Early in the movie the brother’s train takes a wrong turn, much like the character’s lives already have, and their train must be righted.

My favorite line is uttered by Rita, an Indian woman working on the train played by the beautiful Amara Karan.


She has been taken advantage of (and incidentally has taken advantage of) Jack Whitman.  As he is kicked off the train, she poses a question to Jack.

“What’s wrong with you?”

Her inquiry is in response to the brother’s antics on the train up to that point in the movie.

Each of these brothers lives are off-track for one reason or another.  Jack Whitman is completely broken-hearted having just broken off his relationship with his girlfriend, played by Natalie Portman.  Francis Witman’s face and the rest of his body have been broken in a physical and visible way (he’s wearing bandages through most of the movie) by an automobile accident.  Peter Whitman is married and about to have a child, but is obviously very broken by the death of the three brother’s father.  They are also all self-absorbed, hurtful to one another and unable to cooporate.

The question posed to Jack is intentionally metaphorical and existential.  What is wrong with Jack?  Where are these brothers and what are they doing?  Each brother is lost along their spiritual journey.  Each is trying, in their own misguided ways, to find their way through this life.  Each is carrying emotional “baggage” conveniently represented by a large set of matched luggage.  The luggage previously belonged to their now-deceased father.  Each brother carries three or four pieces of the luggage.  Only when they are together is the entire set collected.  Each brother now carries a tangible small piece.  Of course, near the end of the film, the brothers must abandon their luggage in order to catch their train, no longer the Darjeeling Limited.

In a scene shortly after Rita’s question, the brothers push their father’s car out into the street during a flashback.  They inadvertently cut a large truck-driver off.  Peter yells at the driver out of the car door and he steps out of his truck in order to deliver a sound beating.  The brothers each in turn suggest, strongly that the man return to his truck.  He does.  This is the only scene, so far, in which the brothers work together.  A, relatively, positive outcome is the result.  You receive your first hint of the place in which they will find themselves.

In another of my favorite movies, De De asks Joe the same question.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I don’t know.  I don’t… know.”

In the context of Joe Versus the Volcano, the question is clearly allegorical and existential as well.  Joe‘s soul is being destroyed by his repetitive, do-nothing job as a marketing assistant for a medical supply company.  His spiritual journey requires him to attempt his own suicide before he conquers his fear of death and overcomes his lack of love for life.  Joe meets the same girl three times over, but is only able to connect with the one who is willing to help him conquer his fear of death.  I always felt that the point of meeting the same girl three times before falling in love was that falling in love does not have much to do with the other individual, but more to do with your own state of mind.  In any event, he finds his spiritual peace in the context of his near-death and remains pessimistic, but with Patricia (the third incarnation of the same woman) by his side, he has positivity that contradicts, yet accepts and loves his character.

So, I ask you… and I often ask myself…

“What’s wrong with you?”

I don’t have an answer, yet, but I think its a very important question.